For more than thirty years, the Community of Sant'Egidio has been remembering the victims of those who live on the streets, starting with the death of Modesta Valenti, a 71-year-old homeless woman who lived near Termini Station in Rome.
On January 31, 1983, Modesta felt ill, an ambulance was called, but when the crew arrived they did not want to take her because, due to the conditions in which she lived, she was dirty and had lice.
Modesta died after hours of agony, waiting for someone to decide to help her.
Her death deeply marked the friendship of the Community of Sant'Egidio with the homeless. For this reason, each year on the anniversary of her death, Sant'Egido holds a liturgy that commemorates all the "friends on the street" with whom the Community has been close and who have lost their lives, remembering each one by name. With them, the Community - through the service of the dining centers, food distributions, and hospitality centers - has woven over the years relationships of proximity and familiarity, in an attempt to improve the difficult conditions of their lives.
The memory of Modesta and her friends on the street has spread from Rome to many places where the Community is close to those who live and die homeless.